History of the museum

The Henry Forman Atkinson Dental museum can trace its origins back to 1884 with the formation of the Odontological Society of Victoria, the organization responsible for establishing the first dental school in Victoria. The organization consisted of a group of trained dentists and was modeled on the Odontological Society of Great Britain, established in 1856.

The society made provisions for a library and museum and eventually donated its collections to the Australian College of Dentistry. These collections exist today as the Henry Forman Atkinson Dental Museum and the Dental History Section of the Biomedical Library. The first minute books from the Ontological society and other related papers form part of the archival collection which is held by Melbourne University Archives.

Many of the university’s cultural collections relate directly to the teaching of a given discipline and the dental museum is no exception. The collection is rich with objects, artifacts, equipment, books and photographs, many relating to the teaching of Dentistry and related courses at the University and also to the Australian College of Dentistry, which commenced operations in 1897, with the sole purpose of educating dentists.

The museum’s collection however is broader than just the history of the school and encompasses the history and development of dentistry in Victoria and wider Australia, including the history of The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne.


Opening Hours

Monday to Friday
9.00am to 5.00pm

Closed Weekends


Due to the emerging COVID-19 situation and policy statements from the State and Federal Government, University Museums will be closed until further notice. Thank you for your understanding as we endeavour to keep our community members safe during this uncertain time.